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BAT South Africa urges government to lift cigarette sale ban

Says the ban will force the country’s 11m smokers to venture out looking for tobacco.
The British American Tobacco logo sits on a sign standing outside their research and development laboratories in Southampton, UK. Image: Luke MacGregor/Bloomberg

The South African arm of British American Tobacco urged the government on Saturday to reconsider its ban on cigarette sales during the nationwide coronavirus lockdown, saying it would have unintended consequences.

South African officials have imposed some of the toughest anti-coronavirus measures on the continent, including a 21-day “stay at home” lockdown that started last week Friday.

During the lockdown, essential services retailers and petrol station forecourt stores are not allowed to sell alcohol or cigarettes.

The government has justified the ban on studies showing that smoking can make people more susceptible to serious complications from a coronavirus infection.

British American Tobacco South Africa (BATSA) said it supported the decisive measures taken by the government but warned the ban on cigarette sales could jeopardise the fight to contain the virus.

“It will unintentionally force 11 million smokers to go outside of their neighbourhood in search of outlets willing to defy the ban, as we’ve seen in some media reports,” it said in a statement.

“This would lead to greater movement of people and more interactions than if smokers were able to buy cigarettes at their nearest legal outlet at the same time as buying all their other essential goods.”

The tobacco group also warned that the ban could boost illicit trade in tobacco as smokers were more likely to buy from underground traders.

BATSA is the leading tobacco manufacturer in South Africa with 78% market share of the legal cigarette market. It sells cigarettes through 50 000 outlets including grocery stores, liquor shops, spazas, informal traders and fuel stations.

In 2019, BATSA contributed R13 billion in total taxes of which R10 billion was tobacco excise.

In a statement, the Chairperson of the Fair-trade Independent Tobacco Association (FITA) also urged the government to reconsider the nationwide ban.

“Uplifting the ban would, amongst other things save jobs, bring more money into the state coffers, stimulate the economy, and decrease the psychological impact on South Africans of the lockdown period,” FITA Chairperson Sinenhlanhla Mnguni said.

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Off course BAT would want the cigarette ban to be lifted, they have a interest in lifting the ban. But I do agree with them.

SA government inflicted many terrible things on SA, yet their view on smoking and the ban on cigarette one must admit is admirable.

The cigarette industry is in the same boat as unsecured lending. Industries with a NETT NEGATIVE impact on society.

The negative impact cigarette use had on life expectancy surpasses improvements through all the advances in western medicine last 100 years.

And sugar. Probably kills more people than tabacco. Diabetes puts people at risk of complications, so does obesity. Sugar isn’t an essential, should also be banned.

SA government inflicted many terrible things on SA, yet their view on smoking and the ban on cigarette one must admit is admirable.

The cigarette industry is in the same boat as unsecured lending. Industries with a NETT NEGATIVE impact on society.

The negative impact cigarette use had on life expectancy surpasses improvements through all the advances in western medicine last 100 years.

Swap out of “cigarette industry and cigarette use” with “ANC govt” in the comment above and you have something that makes sense, rather than a pathetic attempt at virtue signalling.
Would be nice to follow the stats of “death by police brutality” vs “death by covid-19”.

Only a Lemon brain will compare results from a linear process to and exponential. and for that lack of understanding is it just you stupid or the ANC’s fault?

Even a radical anti-smoker like I have to admit that this makes sense. People are not magically going to lose their tobacco cravings. And their frustrations will not make the lock-down more bearable for them and the people they share a residence with – just allow them to buy cigarettes, ffs.

Only a Darwin tries to substantiate his argument by admitting he is addicted to nicotine..

You’re addicted to trolling.

Moneyweb, if you hold comments for moderation then moderate them, but not for 4 hours, OK?

My comment has been stuck in the “moderation loop” for 13 hours and counting.
So ja, the moderator is probably not providing the service remotely from his or her normal place of residence, as contemplated in regulation 11B(1)(b) of the amended Regulations published in terms of section 27(2) of the Disaster Management Act, 57 of 2002, in Government Gazette 43168 (Regulation Notice R419) on 26 March 2020.
Hey don’t judge, I have to keep myself busy.

Some advice for BAT based. You cannot ask the ANC Government nicely for anything. What you need to do is threaten disruption and violence, taxi-industry style. Only then do you have a chance.

But the government explained that they relaxed the regulations because during day one of grant payments, there were logistical challenges for the elderly. Considering that the virus hasn’t entered most townships fully, the decision to allow taxis for a few days to operate full day was made. Now that grants period is over, they have to return to limited operations.

As a BAT stocks holder who loathes smoking (I know, irony) I think BAT need to suggest something smarter that just asking to unban their product. I won’t do the thinking for them here.

This just highlights what a stupid Government we have. You can go to the Spar to shop but not buy cigarettes. They have removed them from behind the counter. I don’t smoke but I find this is a good measure of the level of intelligence we have in our Government. They are like @#$%^& children.

Just plain stupid.

Wake up man!!!!!!! TSK!!!!

I bet most of the GBV cases reported might have lack of cigarettes and alcohol as root cause. You have millions of people having to go cold turkey as decided by your caring ANC government.

Do they for one minute think it has no effect on the mood of people? Then you put them all in a shack and lock the door?

You only ban ciggs and alcohol if you don’t know what to do.

You can put a hat, doek or uniform on anything and in this country and you end up with the biggest bully’s out. The lack of intelligence also does not help.

You lack IQ and EQ and you do not help society. You are a waste of space. Write that down and read it aloud.

Coming from you its water of a ducks back.

@Mmmm.

“Dad Ape” is brainwashed. a Waste of cyberspace on a screen 😉

@Mmmm
Exactly on point.
I wonder whether the President has realised that we all stand behind him?

And then my thoughts turn to Lord Acton …
“Power tends to corrupt, absolute power corrupts absolutely”

Interestingly, the vape mechanism may yet prove to be one of the best mechanisms for applying covid treatments – essentially a steam atomizer.

As to the bans, nothing makes sense.

If you are going to compel certain people to stay open, allow them to sell whatever they normally sell, as this at least alleviates the economic burden. It is entirely irrational that TakeALot can sell and deliver DSTV decoders. I needed a computer monitor that went fubar, for an electric fence control system around a food factory – tough shirt : cannot buy. Found one among friends, but otherwise tough luck

I am not a smoker, but I do drink wine and enjoy my glass of winevery with dinner. The ban on cigarettes and Alcohol is idiotic, in my opinion. The nation is in Lockdown, many are experiencing high stress levels because of loss of income. To take away people’s small comforts and many’s coping mechanisms during this period is ludicrous. This will also cause alcoholics to seek out more dangerous alternatives or clog up the hospitals due to withdrawals. In France, for example, wine is on the essential list.

To impose a cigarette and (not on premises consumption) alcohol ban in the first place was over reach in the first place.

The SARS commissioner has said that the government raised R127 billion rand on excise duty in the 2020 tax year.

A fair portion of this was from cigarette sales.

While appreciating the notion that cigarette smokers are at greater risk if they contract covoid19 the weakness is not short term and stopping smoking abruptly is not a solution.

Has any thought been given to the undesired consequences of this ban both financially ( to the fiscus) and to the health of smokers?

The government will lose substantial revenue which could be put to good use in these times. The sale of cigarettes will go underground or alternatively there is the prospect of looting.

Smokers generally are addicted and could have withdrawl symptoms with attendent health risks.
Going cold turkey could create other problems for example violence in the home.

A non smoker

What cigarettes are now an ‘essential’ product to promote pulmonary health? Well, those guys can venture out and they will find themselves smoking more than cigarette in the Big House for Big Boys and Girls. What gutzpa by BAT. Enough already.Know where to get off! The only thing that is suffering from withdrawal symptoms here is BAT – to all that cash that smokers just light up. What is to stop SAB (InBev) and Distell and Diageo from arguing that people will soon be possesed by ‘spirits’ and venture out to look for beer and gin to exorcise these spirits? Or will it be the sex industry soon which will argue that prostitutes need to be let loose on the locked up miners lest we start having them stroll in the redlight district. The nonsense never stops. Stay under lockdown and meditate, detox and focus. It will soon be over – then you can indulge all you want.

Just deliver with drones. A pack of cigarettes weighs very little. And charge them enough to make their eyes water.

Underground cigarette traders are selling a box of cigarettes for R100 a piece. Smokers dont care, they are buying!!!

If you just read this:

In 2019, BATSA contributed R13 billion in total taxes of which R10 billion was tobacco excise.

In a statement, the Chairperson of the Fair-trade Independent Tobacco Association (FITA) also urged the government to reconsider the nationwide ban.

“Uplifting the ban would, amongst other things save jobs, bring more money into the state coffers, stimulate the economy, and decrease the psychological impact on South Africans of the lockdown period,” FITA Chairperson Sinenhlanhla Mnguni said.

I strongly agree with the Chairperson Sinenhlanhla Mnquni. We have so many business suffering, people loosing their jobs and/or income!! Really this can only contribute to the economy in this dark time. If Government does not lift it, I don’t think they are really worried about businesses surviving this dark period.

End of comments.

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